Being curious is better than being clever, said the senior pastor of Heart Of God Church, Tan Seow How to the youth of City Harvest Church.
The sea of youngsters was buzzing with excitement and energy inside City Harvest Church’s Jurong West auditorium on the Friday night of Mar 6. It was the church’s first Emerge Night for 2015 and in line with the theme, Academic Excellence, every youth donned his or her school uniform.
Tan Seow How, senior pastor of Heart Of God Church, brought a most welcome teaching for the young people: how to study smart. An affiliate church of CHC, HOGC has a vibrant congregation made up mostly of young people. HOGC launched its Academic Excellence Program in 2005 to encourage the students in its congregation to excel in school while they serve God in church.
Tan started his sharing with a video featuring the true story of an ITE student who was weary of being mocked at and looked down upon by his friends. He decided to apply what he learned in church to his studies. One of the messages that impacted him greatly was the need to have the desire to learn. Once he set his heart on bring genuinely interested in what was being taught in class, his grades began to improve greatly and he even made it to polytechnic. By the grace of God, he graduated with a GPA (grade point average) of 4.0 and received the Lee Kuan Yew scholarship, together with other awards.
After the video, the pastor told his audience that Bible heroes who were used mightily by God were not only spiritual, but also highly intelligent and exercised excellence in their work. Moses, who led the Israelites out of Egypt, was not only spiritual, but had enrolled in one of the best schools in Egypt when he was a youth. He was not just physically fit but also very intelligent.
Reading from Ecclesiastes 10:10, which says “If the ax is dull, and one does not sharpen the edge, then he must use more strength; but wisdom brings success”, Tan told the youths that the worst form of laziness is laziness of the mind. He reminded the youth that studying was to be enjoyed, not endured.
The only foolproof way to enjoy studying is to be curious, said Tan. He elaborated that the only way to learn well and to understand what is being taught is to eradicate the fear of asking questions, and to inculcate the habit of asking the right questions instead.
By being curious, one immediately breaks the mindset that one is not clever. Tan noted that many students are only interested in finding the right answers, instead of asking the right questions. He then encouraged the young people to break that habit, and to begin asking questions instead.
In closing, he simply left the youth with these words: “Curiosity beats cleverness”.
It was a short, simple message but one that had great impact on the CHC youth that attended. Many expressed that they had their mindsets and perspectives altered by the session.
Chin Hui Shan, 16, a student from Anglican High School, said that she felt that the session was highly motivational as it taught her to not only focus on getting better grades but also to be inquisitive. Chin added that she felt spurred to learned to be curious again and to ask the right questions instead of seeking the right answers aimlessly.
Not only were the youth inspired by Tan’s timely word, the working adults in the meeting were equally motivated. Lorren Tong, 19, who works part-time, remarked that the message inspired him to not just be clever but also curious.